South Africa is abuzz amidst the arrival of three prominent international women’s cycling teams, African teams and local women’s teams ahead of the 2015 Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge taking place in Gauteng on Sunday 15 November. The first ever UCI 1.1 Women’s road race will see these great women cyclists competing for all-important UCI points in their attempt to strengthen their chances for Olympic places for 2016.
The opportunities for the growth of women’s cycling in and around Africa are becoming greater. Having a UCI 1.1 category women’s race on the continent will give South Africa and it’s neighbouring countries a chance to compete against acclaimed international cycling teams, elevating the experience and development of women’s cycling on the continent even further.
Cycling South Africa Women’s Commission Director, Lise Olivier, is constantly driving her passion and energy on the bike, into projects that encourage and embrace the development of women’s cycling in and around the country. She says, that this race status could not have come at a better time for South African women cyclists.
“This year has been incredibly historic for women’s cycling in the country and Africa, and having a UCI 1.1 women’s race here on Sunday is the best way to end the 2015 season,” she said.
Olivier mentioned that the talent witnessed over the past few months from women cyclists around Africa has been amazing.
She spent time at the WCCA women’s training camp last month, and had this to say: “The ladies that I spent some time with at the World Cycling Centre Africa’s women’s training camp are remarkable. It was incredible to see them so eager, and all helping and teaching each other in order to better themselves. I hope that in the future we are able to accommodate more and more women cyclists from around the continent.”
When speaking about how far women’s cycling has come in South Africa, Olivier said: “Five years ago when I lined up on the start line of my first African Continental Championships in Rwanda, there were only six or seven women that raced, representing two countries. In February this year, there were 30 women from 14 different Africa countries. And it remained consistent with similar numbers at the African Games in Brazzaville this year. The talent at the second training camp at the UCI World Cycling Centre Africa is incredible.”
Two time Olympic gold medallist and multiple World Champion, Marianne Vos, said that the women would be exposed to new race tactics that will come into play during the race. “The short 94.7km distance and bigger field made up of high level cyclists will be fast from the start. I expect to see that the race will explode on the first proper climb. The length of the route lends itself to early attacks.”
South African women’s cycling ambassador and pro cyclist, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio of the Bigla Pro Cycling Team, said that for the younger women and girls in the sport, to be part of a race of this size is really great and shows what the level of cycling needs to be in order for them to achieve top results.
The 2015 Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge brings the streets of Johannesburg alive with electricity, passion and excitement of cyclists and supporters each year. This year will be the first year that the women’s race has the UCI 1.1 prestige attached, resulting in an even larger international attraction.
For spectators, this is a chance to witness the talent of some of the greatest women cyclists in Africa and the world battling it out on the streets of Johannesburg.
For more information on the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, visit: www.cyclechallenge.co.za